Mar 26, 2006 / 22:00 pm
The priest who witnessed Terri Schiavo’s final hours at her bedside last March reiterated his previous statement that her husband, Michael Schiavo, is a murderer and called on him to “embrace a life of repentance” and to seek forgiveness.
Terri was a 41-year-old severely disabled Florida woman, who died during Holy Week last year; after her husband instructed that her feeding tube be removed, knowing that it would lead to her death.
In a strongly worded open letter to Terri’s husband, Fr. Frank Pavone recalled that last year he called Michael a murderer.
“Some have demanded that I apologize to you for calling you a murderer,” wrote the priest. “Not only will I not apologize, I will repeat it again. Your decision to have Terri dehydrated to death was a decision to kill her.”
The national director of Priests for Life read his letter to a worldwide audience on an internationally broadcast religious service Sunday morning. It was written to mark the one-year anniversary of Terri’s death.
“It doesn’t matter if Judge Greer said it was legal. No judge, no court, no power on earth can legitimize what you did,” he continued. “It makes no difference if what you did was legal in the eyes of men; it was murder in the eyes of God and of millions of your fellow Americans.”
The priest recounted Terri’s agonizing death. “As one of only a few people who were eyewitnesses to Terri’s dehydration, I have to speak,” he wrote.
Fr. Pavone, claiming to write on behalf of “tens of millions” of outraged Americans, said Michael’s decision to remove Terri’s feeding tube is offensive.
“Your actions offend us,” he wrote. “You have offended those who struggle on a daily basis to care for loved ones who are dying, and who sometimes have to make the very legitimate decision to discontinue futile treatment.”
Millions of Americans continue to wonder why Michael did not let Terri’s family take care of her, as they were willing to do, he said. “She had no terminal illness. She was simply a disabled woman who needed extra care that you weren’t willing to give,” he wrote.
“Not only have you killed Terri and deeply wounded her family, but you have disgraced our nation, betrayed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and undermined the principles that hold us together as a civilized society,” he stated.